Ten pioneers in online video journalism

Part One – Narrative freedom

One of the great advantages of online video journalism is that it allows you to break away from the constraints of television journalism.

The internet provides a space for greater creativity, experimentation and variety.

Perhaps most significantly, online video journalism is not restricted by the reporter-led TV formula. (A formula that is well explained in Charlie Brooker’s now infamous How to Report the News.)

As Adam Westbrook and US journalist Paul Balcerak have suggested, there is greater artistic potential in online video journalism.

But experimentation with form, as Westbrook points out, should not detract from quality.  There are several key rules surrounding form that can be broken, but certain fundamental rules must be adhered to.

Here are five sites that show exactly how online video journalism allows for a more artistic form of visual storytelling than its television counterpart.

1. Al Jazeera Frames

This channel contains some excellent shorts, each one is a two-minute treat. There’s also information about some of the filmmakers.


A Cup of Tea (below) – a look at Sri Lanka tea makers. Stunningly shot.

Debtris – a very original approach to data journalism

2. PNW Local News

This is a US-based organistation. It consists of 30 local community newspapers, but its blip.tv channel has a wide variety of video reports.

Recommend (click on the links below):

Navigate King County’s Future Intro Video

World Championship of Sand Sculpting 2010

3. Raul Gallego Abellan

This year’s winner of the RTS Camera Operator of the Year Award. As you’d expect, his videos contain some exceptional camerawork. He works for AP and is based in Bangkok.


Rising Waters – Pakistan Floods 2010 (see website)

Foot Patrol (below)

4. Harmit Kambo

In most of his films, he uses stills accompanied by first-hand witness accounts. But some films do include video footage.


Watching the Detectives (below)

A Bomb on Your Doorstep

5. video .fu

Adam Westbrook’s Vimeo channel collates a pool of films by different producers that exemplify the creative art of online video journalism.


The Sartorialist (below)

The Mast Brothers

In the second part of this series, I shall look at some of the most well known online video journalism channels and will give an overview of their style and content.

Will Teddy

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